Mac Ivors Vintage Reserve Cider

Vintage Reserve Cider, launched in Summer 2017, is the newest addition to Mac Ivors’s line-up. As advertised by MacIvor’s, Vintage Reserve Cider is blended from their most mature stock of cider.  Interestingly, it’s available only in 330ml amber glass bottles so would I expect some good stuff here.   Company: Mac Ivors Cider
Place of Origin: Ardress, Portadown, Armagh County, Northern Ireland, UK
Apples: a blend of apple varieties incl. Armagh Bramley and cider apples such as Michelin, Dabinett and Harry Master’s Jersey
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 5%
Package type: 330 ml amber glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, white wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear pale gold with a white short-lived froth. Medium artificial carbonation and low body.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is weak. I barely get anything. Some yellow apples, fresh and ripe yellow apples, some oakiness, hints of funk and distant apricots.

Taste: it starts moderately sweet with a low acidity of lemon. Notes of lemon peel, fresh yellow apples and a light astringent taste on the palate. Short finish with a light astringent taste and a hint of green apples and apricots. A very distant touch of bitterness appears at a later point.

Overall: Vintage Reserve Cider. That sounds proud and glorious. But the name doesn’t tell the truth and promises more than it delivers. I’m sorry to say but I expected more than an average tasting fizzy lemonade that lacks depth and has a short finish. The Vintage Reserve tastes watery, the flavours are not intense. Even weak. Admittedly, the Vintage Reserve tastes natural and is drinkable. Also, there are no disturbing flavours at all. But no drinking pleasure either. Nice try but this blend doesn’t seem to work. 2.5/6

Availability: widely available within the UK and Ireland, e.g. from Wines & Spirits or Emersons. In Germany from Bierkontor in Nuremberg, Bierothek LeipzigGetränkefeinkostDr. Hops, Uptown Coffee Bar and Olea in Leipzig, Getränkehandel Köthen  and The Shamrock – Irish Pub in Köthen, Fliese, Die Bierkanzlei and Rosis’s in Halle, Hopfenspeicher in Chemnitz, Der Shop am Hassel and Flowerpower in Magdeburg, Schankwirtschaft “Zur schwarzen Kunst” in Görlitz, Altes Handelshaus in Plauen, Landgasthof Dehnitz in Wurzen-Dehnitz, Getränkehandel Mierisch in Freital, Quedlinburger Wein- und Tabakhaus Trense in Quedlinburg. In Italy from Sidro & Cider. In France through Craft Cider Selection.

Price: Mac Ivors Vintage Reserve Cider was a sample provided by Greg from MacIvors Cider.

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Mac Ivors Plum & Ginger Cider

Launched in 2016, Plum & Ginger is basically Mac Ivor’s Medium cider (for the past review click here) combined with plum and ginger juice. Interestingly, a combination of plum with ginger seems to be getting more and more popular in the UK & Ireland as Mac Ivor’s is not the only cider maker offering plum and ginger flavoured cider. The Garden Cider Company released a similar cider a while ago as well. 
Company: 
Mac Ivors Cider
Place of Origin: Ardress, Portadown, Armagh County, Northern Ireland, UK
Ingredients: a blend of ten apple varieties incl. Armagh Bramley and cider apples such as Michelin, Dabinett and Harry Master’s Jersey and plum and ginger juice
Sweetness as per label: medium
ABV: 4%
Package type: 500ml clear glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, white wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear raspberry red with a white short-lived foam. Low to medium carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is rather sweet, fruity and spicy of ginger. The aroma exhibits notes of red fruits, strawberries, raspberries and plums.

Taste: it begins moderately sweet with low acidity. On the mid-palate, a watery note, ginger and plum juice. The finish is dry and short with a lightly spicy with a note of ginger.

Overall: Plum & Ginger Cider is an offering for those who are looking for a refreshing combination of flavours. Admittedly, flavours of plum & ginger go well together. I enjoyed the gently spicy aftertaste to it. However, I wouldn’t call it cider. Rather an easy drinkable fortified plum and ginger juice. Plum & Ginger has no depth, no tannins, no apple flavours, thus I wouldn’t classify it as cider. Which doesn’t mean that Plum & Ginger is not drinkable or tastes somehow commercial? Not at all, it tastes natural and goes down easily, doesn’t taste too sweet and it’s pleasant for a juice. I just wouldn’t call it cider though. 3/6

Availability: widely available within the UK and Ireland, e.g. from Wines & Spirits or Emersons. In Germany from Bierkontor in Nuremberg, Bierothek LeipzigGetränkefeinkostDr. Hops, Uptown Coffee Bar and Olea in Leipzig, Getränkehandel Köthen  and The Shamrock – Irish Pub in Köthen, Fliese, Die Bierkanzlei and Rosis’s in Halle, Hopfenspeicher in Chemnitz, Der Shop am Hassel and Flowerpower in Magdeburg, Schankwirtschaft “Zur schwarzen Kunst” in Görlitz, Altes Handelshaus in Plauen, Landgasthof Dehnitz in Wurzen-Dehnitz, Getränkehandel Mierisch in Freital, Quedlinburger Wein- und Tabakhaus Trense in Quedlinburg. In Italy from Sidro & Cider. In France through Craft Cider Selection.

Price: Mac Ivors Plum & Ginger Cider was a sample provided by Greg from MacIvors Cider.

Mac Ivors Medium

Did you know that County Armagh, where Mac Ivors Cider is based, is Ireland’s apple capital? Annually the County Armagh orchards produce 40,000 to 50,000 tonnes of apples. More than that, there is even the famous apple festival, Apple Blossom Festival taking place each year in May celebrating Armagh’s heritage. Legend says that it was Saint Patrick in person, who planted the first apple tree at Ceangoba, east of Armagh City. However, the most orchards were set up in this fruit-growing region in the 1600’s. But the MacNeice orchards, where apples for Mac Ivors Cider come from, were established around 1855 and today manage around 110 acres. I’m having their Medium today, another award-winning cider from Mac Ivors’ line-up.Company: Mac Ivors Cider
Place of Origin: 
Ardress, Portadown, Armagh County, Northern Ireland, UK
Apples: 
a blend of over ten apple varieties incl. Armagh Bramley and cider apples such as Michelin, Dabinett and Harry Master’s Jersey
Sweetness as per label: 
medium
ABV:
4.5%
Package type:
500ml brown glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass:  
pint glass, chalice glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear straw with light greenish hues and a white short-lived foam. Medium carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: it has a sweet and funky aroma with notes of lemon candy, pineapple, yellow, red and green apples and distant sulphur.

Taste: it starts medium sweet with low acidity. Pineapple, yellow apples, red apple with a hint of green apples, light red berries, light oak, lemon juice and lemon candy, light astringent taste and hints of funk appear on the mid-palate. In the aftertaste light grapefruit or bitter lemon bitterness with a light sulphur note and an earthy hint to it.

Overall: Mac Ivor’s Medium is a nicely refreshing cider with delicious notes of apples, lemon and pineapple. Surprisingly, it’s only slightly sweeter than their Traditional Dry, which I reviewed previously. In short, Mac Ivor’s Medium tastes like a lovely fusion of cider and lemon candy. I would like to taste it again served cold in the summer when it’s warm as I can imagine it would be truly refreshing. Food wise, I would pair it with poultry or a light meal. 4.5/6

Availability: widely available within the UK and Ireland, e.g. from Wines & Spirits or Emersons. In Germany from Bierkontor in Nuremberg, Bierothek LeipzigGetränkefeinkostDr. Hops, Uptown Coffee Bar and Olea in Leipzig, Getränkehandel Köthen  and The Shamrock – Irish Pub in Köthen, Fliese, Die Bierkanzlei and Rosis’s in Halle, Hopfenspeicher in Chemnitz, Der Shop am Hassel and Flowerpower in Magdeburg, Schankwirtschaft “Zur schwarzen Kunst” in Görlitz, Altes Handelshaus in Plauen, Landgasthof Dehnitz in Wurzen-Dehnitz, Getränkehandel Mierisch in Freital, Quedlinburger Wein- und Tabakhaus Trense in Quedlinburg. In Italy from Sidro & Cider. In France through Craft Cider Selection.

Price: MacIvors was a sample provided by Greg from MacIvors Cider.

Mac Ivors Traditional Dry

Greg MacNeice is a Northern Irish specialist in Armagh Bramley apples, which were grown on the farm in County Armagh since 1855. In 2012, Greg has launched Mac Ivors Cider making a step from an apple grower to a cider maker. Today Mac Ivors Ciders is a successful family-owned and operated business, with a range of four ciders, featuring Traditional Dry, Medium, Plum & Ginger and Vintage Reserve.

I’m trying their Traditional Dry today, launched in 2012 and made from ten apple varieties, including Armagh Bramley and cider apples such as Michelin, Dabinett and Harry Master’s Jersey.

Greg’s Traditional Dry has picked up a number of awards, including the International Brewing & Cider Awards 2017 (Gold), Great Taste 2016 (Gold Star), National Trust Fine Farm Food Award 2017, Blas na h’Eireann Awards 2016, Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards 2015 (Silver) and National Trust Fine Farm Food Award 2017. Quite impressive!

Company: Mac Ivors Cider
Place of Origin: Ardress, Portadown, Armagh County, Northern Ireland, UK
Apples: a blend of ten apple varieties incl. Armagh Bramley and cider apples such as Michelin, Dabinett and Harry Master’s Jersey
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 5.8%
Package type: 500ml brown glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass:  pint glass, white wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear golden with a tiny short-lived foam. Medium carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is fruity and exhibits notes of yellow apple, red apple, red berries. with wild hints and a distant note of sulphur.

Taste: my first taste is lightly sweet (rather medium dry than dry) with low to medium lemon-like acidity. Subsequently, notes of honey, yellow and red apple, moderate grapefruit-bitterness, light red berries and moderately astringent taste appear on the mid-palate. Also, I can pick up a light vinous and smoky note (only in the beginning). A lingering grapefruit skin-like bitterness with a slightly sharp taste and biting carbonation with a distant sulphur note in the aftertaste.

Overall: Dry from Mac Ivors is a very pleasant and refreshing everyday cider. It has a wide palate, full of fruity notes of apples and red berries. Also, red berries and lemon-like acidity with the crisp apple taste add freshness making the Traditional Dry a perfect summer pour. On top of that, it’s a good entry cider as it’s tasty but not too dry or too sharp but still has depth. I wish their Dry was available in every Irish pub instead of the industrial Magners. Overall, a very nice Irish tipple. I could have it again. 4/6

Availability: widely available within the UK and Ireland, e.g. from Wines & Spirits or Emersons. In Germany from Bierkontor in Nuremberg, Bierothek LeipzigGetränkefeinkostDr. Hops, Uptown Coffee Bar and Olea in Leipzig, Getränkehandel Köthen  and The Shamrock – Irish Pub in Köthen, Fliese, Die Bierkanzlei and Rosis’s in Halle, Hopfenspeicher in Chemnitz, Der Shop am Hassel and Flowerpower in Magdeburg, Schankwirtschaft “Zur schwarzen Kunst” in Görlitz, Altes Handelshaus in Plauen, Landgasthof Dehnitz in Wurzen-Dehnitz, Getränkehandel Mierisch in Freital, Quedlinburger Wein- und Tabakhaus Trense in Quedlinburg. In Italy from Sidro & Cider. In France through Craft Cider Selection.

Price: Mac Ivors Traditional Dry was a sample provided by Greg from MacIvors Cider.